\ ˈkä-pē How to pronounce copy (audio) \
plural copies

Definition of copy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an imitation, transcript, or reproduction of an original work (such as a letter, a painting, a table, or a dress)
2 : one of a series of especially mechanical reproductions of an original impression also : an individual example of such a reproduction
3 archaic : something to be imitated : model
4a : matter to be set especially for printing
b : something considered printable or newsworthy used without an articleremarks that make good copy— Norman Cousins
c : text especially of an advertisement
5 : duplicate sense 1a a copy of a computer file a copy of a gene


copied; copying; copies

Definition of copy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make a copy or duplicate of copy a document copy a computer file
2 : to model oneself on
3 in radio/military communications : to acknowledge receipt of (a message) The operator of the Titanic was busy figuring his accounts and did not bother to copy the message. A little later in the afternoon, another ship named the Baltic called the Titanic to tell her about icebergs that were in her way.— Rev. Robert P. Lawrence

intransitive verb

1 : to make a copy
2 : to undergo copying the map did not copy well
3 in radio/military communications : to acknowledge receipt and understanding of a message "Block the road with your car. Take no other action. … No resistance, do you copy? Over."— Stephen King

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Choose the Right Synonym for copy


reproduction, duplicate, copy, facsimile, replica mean a thing made to closely resemble another. reproduction implies an exact or close imitation of an existing thing. reproductions from the museum's furniture collection duplicate implies a double or counterpart exactly corresponding to another thing. a duplicate of a house key copy applies especially to one of a number of things reproduced mechanically. printed 1000 copies of the lithograph facsimile suggests a close reproduction often of graphic matter that may differ in scale. a facsimile of a rare book replica implies the exact reproduction of a particular item in all details a replica of the Mayflower but not always in the same scale. miniature replicas of classic cars


copy, imitate, mimic, ape, mock mean to make something so that it resembles an existing thing. copy suggests duplicating an original as nearly as possible. copied the painting and sold the fake as an original imitate suggests following a model or a pattern but may allow for some variation. imitate a poet's style mimic implies a close copying (as of voice or mannerism) often for fun, ridicule, or lifelike imitation. pupils mimicking their teacher ape may suggest presumptuous, slavish, or inept imitating of a superior original. American fashion designers aped their European colleagues mock usually implies imitation with derision. mocking a vain man's pompous manner


copy, imitate, and mimic mean to make something so that it resembles something else. copy means trying to duplicate a thing as much as possible. Copy this drawing exactly. imitate means that a person uses something as an example but does not try to make an exact copy. They imitated the actions of their parents. mimic means carefully copying something (as a person's voice) often for the purpose of making fun of it. The comedian mimicked a popular singer.

Examples of copy in a Sentence

Noun The novel has sold more than a million copies. She got a job writing advertising copy. All copy must be submitted by 5 p.m. Verb She copied the design on a piece of paper. Copy the file to your hard drive. The bills are designed to prevent copying by counterfeiters. We caught him copying the answers out of the book. We caught him copying out of the book. The speech was copied word for word. His music was copied widely. Their competitors soon copied the idea.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Evers this month refused to provide Fox 6 with copies of all his emails from one day, saying the television station had to provide subject topics. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Top Republican sues Gov. Tony Evers under open records law," 19 Nov. 2019 From the copy-and-paste department: The Lions don’t get enough pass rush from their defensive line. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions grades: Ugly performance for defense, coaching vs. Cowboys," 17 Nov. 2019 To get a copy, call LexisNexis at 866-312-8076 or visit Kathleen Pender,, "Evacuated from the fires? Read this before you file an insurance claim," 16 Nov. 2019 Once that sheen faded, however, my patience with the gameplay's fumbles dwindled quickly—a fact that wasn't helped when the visuals in later levels began to suffer from serious copy-and-paste syndrome. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Jedi: Fallen Order game review: More like, the Force goes back to sleep," 14 Nov. 2019 Read on for a day in the life of Brown, and pick up a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands now, for more from the reality star. Julie Mazziotta,, "Hannah Brown Fuels Her DWTS Performances with Plenty of Carbs — and Candy for Breakfast!," 8 Nov. 2019 Tickets include a copy of the book: $40 plus a $2.99 fee. Carole Goldberg,, "Write Stuff: Bush daughters bringing ‘Sisters First’ discussion to Clinton, Quinnipiac professor talks identity politics," 5 Nov. 2019 Thanks for the reminder to pick up a copy, Mrs. Bush Hager. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Hoda Kotb Shares Her Boyfriend Joel's Heartwarming Reaction to Her Desire to Adopt," 21 Oct. 2019 In 2017, Cha Cha’s expanded with an essentially carbon-copy location in Irvine. Daily Pilot, "On Food: Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen celebrates 10 years," 17 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb An investigation into reports that a white supremacist manifesto copied from the New Zealand mosque shooter was sent to the cellphones of students in Bird Library on Monday night have not turned up any devices that received the document., "SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Benny Callahan didn’t leave her dorm for two straight days this week.," 23 Nov. 2019 An investigation into reports that a white supremacist manifesto copied from the New Zealand mosque shooter was sent to the cellphones of students in Bird Library on Monday night have not turned up any devices that received the document. Washington Post, "Syracuse U, shaken by racism, welcomes the holiday break," 22 Nov. 2019 Older aristocrats wore monocles; younger and poorer men copied them. Austin Grossman, The Atlantic, "Monocles Were Never Cool," 13 Oct. 2019 The wooden walls and ceilings were simply bleached, and new doors were installed with angular frames copied from 16th-century examples. Ian Phillips, ELLE Decor, "This Russian Bathhouse is Overflowing with Eye-Popping Fabrics," 6 Oct. 2019 The fungus first enters an ant’s bloodstream as single cells, but those cells soon begin copying themselves and, importantly, building connections so that those individual cells can share nutrients. Everyday Einstein Sabrina Stierwalt, Scientific American, "Real-Life Zombies," 20 Sep. 2019 The entire suite of Control’s powers feel like they’re copied directly from Star Wars — and that’s a good thing. Matthew Gault, Time, "'Control' Feels Like What Would Happen if David Lynch Made a Video Game," 5 Sep. 2019 In the case of the Third Reich, redesigning Berlin to be a world capital in its image meant monuments at a size and scale never before seen in history (though the ideas were all copied from past empires). Curbed Staff, Curbed, "Obsessed with utopias? Read the books that inspired ‘Nice Try!’," 18 July 2019 The new leaded glass has Wright’s characteristic geometric designs and was copied from photographs and his original plans. Brian E. Clark, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robie House in Chicago’s Hyde Park is now a UNESCO treasure," 12 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'copy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of copy


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for copy


Middle English copie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin copia, from Latin, abundance — more at copious

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Learn More about copy

Time Traveler for copy

Time Traveler

The first known use of copy was in the 14th century

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Statistics for copy

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Copy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for copy


How to pronounce copy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of copy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is or looks exactly or almost exactly like something else : a version of something that is identical or almost identical to the original
: one of the many books, magazines, albums, DVDs, etc., that are exactly the same and are produced to be sold or given to the public
: written information that is to be published in a newspaper, magazine, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of copy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a version of (something) that is exactly or almost exactly like the original : to make a copy or duplicate of (something)
: to write (something) down exactly as it appears somewhere else
: to use (someone else's words or ideas) as your own


\ ˈkä-pē How to pronounce copy (audio) \
plural copies

Kids Definition of copy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is made to look exactly like something else : duplicate a copy of a letter a copy of a painting
2 : one of the total number of books, magazines, or papers printed at one time She owns a copy of a popular atlas.
3 : written material to be published


copied; copying

Kids Definition of copy (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make a duplicate of

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More from Merriam-Webster on copy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for copy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with copy

Spanish Central: Translation of copy

Nglish: Translation of copy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of copy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on copy

What made you want to look up copy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very cautious or careful

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